Did anyone see this question in the latest edition of Runner’s World?
We were asked whether we thought run commuting was a movement earlier this year during the WalkJogRun interview (though it was later edited out). I said that I didn’t think so. But since then, it really does seem like it has been taking off.
We’ve heard from some readers who have been running to work for years, some who just started last week, and others who have started running to work with their friends/coworkers. Many of you are current or former bike commuters. Some are run commuting to train for marathons and ultramarathons. All of you are runners…
I want run commuting to be a movement. I want it to gain momentum and, drawing from Runner’s World poll question, become a “realistic option” for getting to and from work. Where do we start?
1. Run commute as often as you can
When we’re run commuting, we are visible to other commuters out on the streets, whether they are drivers stuck in traffic, cyclists, walkers, or public transit riders. By being seen regularly (especially while wearing a backpack), people begin to accept the notion that run commuting is realistic. People can do it. And that’s key – creating a new thought in another’s mind that says ‘run commuting is possible and people do it.’ Hell, it wasn’t too long ago when marathons were seen as something only elite runners could complete. Now everyone is knocking them out.
2. Talk to others about run commuting
If you’ve run commuted before, you should already be familiar with this scenario.
You stop running near your office to cool down on your way in. Another worker in your building sees you and comes over to chat. They ask if you just ran to work, you say “yes”, and then they say something along the lines of:
“I would love to try run commuting, but I live too far away.”
“I absolutely could not do that without a shower.”
Use that conversation as a chance to promote run commuting. Show them that there are ways to try it for themselves even if they live far away (multimodal run commute). Ask them if they’re training for any upcoming races. Tell them how running to work allows you to combine your commute and workout that were previously separate and time-consuming tasks. If run commuting helped with your race times, let them know. Mention that if a shower is keeping them from doing it, that they can try just running home from work. You don’t have to run both ways, everyday, afterall. Another important message to get across: you don’t need to have a bunch of fancy gear – almost any old backpack and clothes will do, though some things are nice to have (See Run Commuting Essentials.)
3. Become an advocate
There are many things that can be done at various public and private levels to promote not only run commuting, but other alternative commuting , as well.
Private Sector: How about trying to get your boss or building manager to put in a shower? Or some lockers in or near the bathrooms? These will benefit bike commuters, too! Rally everyone together and see what you can accomplish.
Public Sector: Run commuters are pedestrians, and sidewalk maintenance is always an issue. Make your voice heard and keep the way clear and safe; not only for you, but for children, walkers, and wheelchairs, too. Check out this post for more info. Even little things like broken streetlights and non-working pedestrian crosswalk signals go unnoticed for long periods of time. Contact the appropriate person or office to get it fixed.
Keep an eye out for alternative transportation-friendly legislation. Maybe there is a vote on a local greenway trail that for which you can grow a support base. Perhaps a new bridge is going to be built in order to ease major traffic congestion. Go to public meetings and ensure that the plan allows for safe passage of pedestrians. If it doesn’t, lobby to get it added. Remember: those things need to be accomplished during the planning process – not after they have started construction.
Write letters to your local paper in response to, or about, anything that is relevant to run commuting – traffic congestion, air quality, sidewalks, road building, health issues, running articles, etc. The more we publicly talk about it, the more the movement can grow.
Running Sector: Does your local run club have a newsletter? Ask if you can write an article for it. Turn some of those club runners in to run commuters! Become a run commuter buddy. Encourage a coworker to try and then run with them.
Don’t forget, you can always write about run commuting on our site. Bounce your ideas off us.
The Run Commuter tabled our first event last May. We also threw together an impromptu marathon-for-one. Got an idea for a local event that you can combine with passing out info and answering questions? Contact us! We’ve put together a handout that is available for anyone, and we can help you brainstorm your idea.
Yes, this is a movement, run commuters. It’s our movement. Let’s make it happen!